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Kitchen Rescue

Locally made, high-value cheeses from carabao’s milk

By: - Columnist
/ 02:15 AM October 15, 2015
LA LATTERIA d’ Ischia cheeses

LA LATTERIA d’ Ischia cheeses

Marshall Mays, an American dairy entrepreneur, has lived around Asia for the past 30 years. After visiting the Philippines in 1978, he realized that this was where he would want to spend most of his time.

His career as a dairy man started five years ago when he set up Dairy Innovative Partners (an affiliate of the Hong Kong-based Pacific Organic Dairy Products) after discovering that the premium food sector had the best returns on long-term investment.

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He and his partners saw the water buffalo or carabao—which is native to Asia and Southern Italy—as the catalyst to making high-value, export-quality cheeses like mozzarella and burrata under the brand La Latteria d’ Ischia.

It was also a means of providing livelihood to our local dairy farmers.

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His dairy plant north of Manila buys fresh milk from small cooperatives in northern Luzon. The milk goes through stringent testing.

The company also offers training programs to dairy farmers who are introduced to proper feeding regimens for better milk yields.

“Through our training and controlled buying,” says Mays, “we are building up the capacity of scattered, otherwise unsupported dairy farmers to produce at global standards. This boosts income to lift rural families from poverty and educate them on the proper methods of organic food production.”

Topnotch cheeses

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and Mays proved to me that La Latteria cheeses are topnotch.

The burrata with basil savors like a dream. Encased inside the supple rind is a soft, creamy, buttery center that oozes out once it is cut open.

The mascarpone is silky smooth with hints of sweetness and a lemony finish. The experience of having it in its purest form is comparable to having a rich bite of cheesecake.

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I love how soft and chewy the fresh mozzarella is.

The Crema Toscana, a creamy aged cheese with a sharp blue cheese flavor without the veins, is excellent as well. Mine is drizzled with Greek honey infused with thyme, and I can’t have enough of it.

There’s not a cheese I tried that I did not particularly enjoy.

Here is Mays’ guide as well as his suggestions on how best to enjoy his cheeses.

Mozzarella di bufala (fresh, buttery and lightly chewy)

Slice over green salads with tomatoes, pine nuts, drizzled with a little balsamic and olive oil.

Lay cheese slices over hot penne (fresh from the pot) and top with a tomato ragù.

Ricotta di bufala (light and sweet whey cheese)

Dab over grilled vegetables.
Stuff inside grilled bell peppers. Layer between lasagna sheets.

Serve with fresh raspberries for dessert.

Mascarpone superiore

Use to make tiramisu.

Serve with fresh fruit such as kiwi or strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar.

Primo Sale (semicured crumbly cheese with basil shreds)

Crumble over green salad or mix into an oil-and-vinegar dressing.

Sprinkle over hot pumpkin or squash soup. Serve with a glass of Chardonnay.

Crumble over slices of ripe mango.

Crema Toscana
Spread over hot focaccia.
Stuff into small red onions, and grill with a few drops of olive oil.

Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon or Sangiovese. Enjoy with dates.

Scamorza (slightly sharp flavor with a soft interior behind a thin rind)

Stretches beautifully, use over pizza dough or toast.
Use in French onion soup instead of gruyère.

Pairs well with Pinot Grigio.

Caciocavallo (denser, sweeter cheese than Ementaler)

An ideal appetizer on bread or crackers.
Pairs well with Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

Melts beautifully over warm bread or grilled vegetables.

Appia Vecchia (like a mild Asiago)
Grate over risotto or pasta.
Serve cubed, as a snack.

Maronne di Veneto (a tangy, nutty semisoft cheese with a thin rind, like Taleggio but richer)

Melts well; use in soups, grilled vegetables, bread, risotto or polenta.

Pair with medium bodied red wines.

Bufalino (like a young pecorino flavored with either Italian herbs, garlic or paprika)

A crumbly, rich cheese that goes well with wine and cocktails, green salads, and thick soups.

Mays even shared some recipes. Aside from cheeses, La Latteria makes excellent yogurt.

Caesar Dressing

300-gram pouch Italian Dream, creamy yogurt
Juice and zest of 2 medium lemons
1 clove raw garlic, minced small
anchovies, to taste
30 milliliter virgin olive oil

Blend ingredients until smooth. Chill for an hour before serving.

Burrata salad with eggplant

For each piece of 100 g burrata:
1 small eggplant (cut 1 inch wide each), lightly toss in flour and fry in very hot oil for 1 minute

2 small heirloom tomatoes, quartered

Arugula, a small handful
Balsamic vinegar

Let burrata thaw for 15 minutes before serving.

Arrange the salad.

Slice through the burrata.

Drizzle salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To order cheeses, call 0915-1164534 or 0916-7763747.

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TAGS: carabao, dairy, Dairy Innovative Partners, La Latteria d’ Ischia, Marshall Mays, water buffalo
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